" an fear beag dátheangach."

Translation:The small man is bilingual.

September 15, 2014



Haha, I wrote "the man is a little bilingual". I see why that's wrong, but it did make me chuckle.

January 3, 2015


Haha I put that too. Would that actually be "Tá an fear beagan dátheangach"?

January 11, 2015


I think that would actually be: Is é an fear a dhátheangach beag. The adjective should follow the word that it's describing, so if he is a little bilingual, then the Irish translation should be: bilingual little. ...I think.

May 18, 2015


I think that most English speakers would interpret "He is a little bilingual" as "he is a little bit bilingual" - in other words, "bilingual" is an adjective, and you would not use the copula to say that, - Tá an fear beagán dátheangach is OK.

If you wanted to interpret "bilingual" as a noun, and use "little" as an adjective ("small") to describe the bilngual's stature, then you probably wouldn't use dátheangach in the first place, because dátheangach is an adjectival form, and dátheangeolaí might be a better choice, but if you did use dátheangach as a noun, then you would say Is dátheangach beag é an fear.

September 5, 2016



May 18, 2015


Why doesn't dátheangach respect the caol le caol, leathann le leathann rule? Compound nouns don't do that?

October 6, 2014


You're right, compound words and prefixes don't obey that rule.

November 12, 2014


Isn't bilingual a permanent state? If it is, shouldn't it be "is" rather than "tá"?

September 15, 2014


The distinction between is and isn't really about permanent versus temporary. Think of it as nouns/pronouns versus adjectives:

  • Tá sé dátheangach He is bilingual
  • Is fear dátheangach é He is a bilingual man (ie he is a man, who is bilingual)
September 15, 2014


Go raibh maith agat! I was grappling with this. It's always a case of getting caught on little things like this and getting discouraged, then learning it one way or another, and getting back into it with a vengeance. My future as a linguist doesn't seem that paper-thin, looking at how much I enjoy this. :D

November 15, 2015


Through Duo I learned it like you said, but what about the sentence "Is fíor é"? There the predicative is also just an adjective, but Duo uses "is" instead of "tá". I also remember learning from the book "Teach Yourself Irish" that nationalities are stated with "is", so is it impossible to say "Is dátheangach an fear beag é", and if, is there a reason why?

November 29, 2015

[deactivated user]

    You could say Is duine dátheangach é an fear beag. Here is what Gearrchúrsa Gramadaí says about the copula:

    Ceanglaíonn an chopail is dhá fhocal nó dhá abairtín dá chéile chun a thaispeáint gurb ionann iad. Tugann an chéad chuid den abairt (an fhaisnéis) eolas faoin dara cuid di (an t-ainmní).

    January 13, 2016


    The fíor in Is fíor é isn't an adjective, it's a noun. (literally, "it is a truth").

    The fíor in Is scéal fíor é is an adjective.

    June 10, 2016


    Not necessary. If you don't practice a language, you'll lose it. But, in this case, it's not being used in that sense. If you wanted to say "He's a bilingual man," you would use is.

    September 15, 2014


    I agree with this, it sounds more irish to say Is fear beag dátheangach é. he is a small bilingual man. (if you ever would say this)

    February 6, 2015


    What would multilinguals be?

    April 15, 2017

    [deactivated user]

      The prefix for 'multi' is il- which lenites except before d, s, t. So that would give il-teangach.

      April 16, 2017


      But of course; leprechauns speak their own language amongst themselves.

      November 21, 2018


      Why isn't it "the small bilingual man"?

      September 17, 2014


      Well... it could maybe be the philosophical observation: "The small bilingual man is."

      January 21, 2015


      and if you said Tá an fear datheangach beag. does it mean "The bilingual man is small" ?

      August 29, 2016


      yes, it can be understood that way - it can also be understood as "the man is bilingual and small".

      August 30, 2016


      I tried "The small guy is bilingual." It didn't work. I didn't expect it to. It was a nice idea while it lasted though. But is there an actual Irish word for "guy" anyway?

      August 13, 2017


      No sound again...

      August 15, 2018


      Nice he is not the other bi-

      June 23, 2016


      Maybe he is.

      June 23, 2016


      I would welcome knowing how to say that in Irish or any of the other Duolingo languages as well.

      June 23, 2016
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